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This Hour: Latest Massachusetts news, sports, business and entertainment

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State psychiatric prison under federal scrutiny

BOSTON (AP) - A federally funded watchdog group has launched an investigation into the treatment of inmates at Bridgewater State Hospital psychiatric prison.

The state Department of Correction confirms that lawyers from the Disability Law Center arrived at the medium-security prison Tuesday to meet with administrators, gather records, and meet with patients.

Department spokesman Darren Duarte tells The Boston Globe that the visit was "a positive meeting."

The investigation comes in the wake of reports that guards and clinicians are illegally putting mentally ill inmates and patients into physical restraints and isolation cells.

The Disability Law Center is designated under federal law to investigate complaints about the abuse of disabled people. It said in a letter to state officials it has "deep concern about the amount of restraint and seclusion."


Grossman to debate head of Massachusetts gun lobby

BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts Treasurer Steve Grossman is planning to face off against the head of the state's gun lobby in a debate over proposed changes in gun laws.

Grossman, a Democratic candidate for governor, said the debate with Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts Executive Director Jim Wallace will take place Thursday afternoon on the Statehouse steps.

The debate will focus on proposed policy initiatives like limiting the purchase of guns to one firearm per month and requiring gun manufacturers to use so-called "smart gun" technology to make it harder for anyone other than a gun's owner to fire a weapon.

Grossman said that Attorney General Martha Coakley, who is also running for the Democratic nomination for governor, was invited to participate in the debate.

A campaign aide to Coakley said she's not planning to attend.


Bourne slaying suspect held without bail

(Information in the following story is from: Cape Cod (Mass.) Times, )

FALMOUTH, Mass. (AP) - A Bourne man charged with fatally shooting another man during a drug transaction has pleaded not guilty.

Sonny Tavares was held without bail at his arraignment Wednesday in Falmouth District Court on charges including murder.

Prosecutors say the 25-year-old Tavares shot Antone Gutierrez of Wareham in Bourne on Tuesday night. The 22-year-old Gutierrez, found lying in the middle of a road, died several hours later at a hospital.

Prosecutors allege Gutierrez was shot during a heroin transaction.

The Cape Cod Times reports that Tavares' lawyer did not argue for bail. The defense attorney said outside of court that the victim's violent and criminal past may play a role in his defense strategy.


6-alarm fire damages Cambridge apartment block

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) - A six-alarm fire caused extensive damage to a Cambridge apartment building, but authorities say all the residents escaped unharmed.

The fire on Massachusetts Avenue was reported just after midnight Thursday.

Fire Chief Gerald Reardon says it appears as if the blaze started in the basement of the six-floor building but quickly moved floor to floor up a utility shaft, making it difficult to battle.

The older 57-unit building did not have a sprinkler system.

Reardon says 125 firefighters responded, and some suffered minor injuries.

The cause remains under investigation.


Framingham man charged with raping relative

(Information in the following story is from: MetroWest Daily News (Framingham, Mass.),

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (AP) - A Framingham man charged with sexually assaulting a 5-year-old relative he was baby-sitting has been held on $200,000 bail.

Erick Figueroa was held after pleading not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday to charges of rape of a child, indecent assault and battery on a child younger than 14 and disseminating obscene matter to a child.

The MetroWest Daily News reports he was also ordered to have no contact with the girl or her parents and to stay away from anyone younger than 18 if he makes bail.

Prosecutors say the girl reported the assault to her parents Saturday, and also said Figueroa had shown her an explicit video on his cellphone.

The suspect's lawyer argued for lower bail, saying his client has no criminal record and a steady job.


Springfield woman faces murder charge

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) - A Springfield woman has been charged with murder in connection with the death of a city man found in his apartment last month.

Diomaris Valentin is scheduled to be arraigned in Springfield District Court on Thursday.

The 28-year-old Valentin is charged in connection with the death of 61-year-old Craig Sheridan.

Sheridan was found dead in his sixth-floor apartment on March 22, but police say it is believed he may have been dead a week before the body was discovered.

Police did not say how Sheridan died or what led them to Valentin as a suspect.

It's not clear if she has a lawyer.


Winchendon family shocked after dog found hanged

WINCHENDON, Mass. (AP) - A Winchendon family is heartbroken and outraged at the same time after finding their dog hanging from a tree from their yard.

Allyson Clark calls the death of Snoopy, a 14-week old beagle, "murder."

Clark says the family, with four kids, has had Snoopy for just six weeks.

They put him outside Monday afternoon, tying him to the dog house with a rope.

Clark's 10-year-old daughter went out about 25 minutes later and found Snoopy with a rope around his neck hanging from a tree about four feet off the ground.

She says there is no way it could have been an accident.

Winchendon police and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are investigating.


US troops in Afghanistan hosting 'shadow' marathon

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (AP) - The Fort Drum-based 10th Mountain Division will host what will be the last Boston Marathon "shadow run" to be held at Bagram air base in Afghanistan.

The 26.2-mile shadow runs are held by deployed U.S. military personnel on or around Patriots Day, when the Boston Marathon is run. This year's Boston Marathon is Monday, but the Bagram race is being held Friday.

Some 600 military members and civilians are expected to run in Bagram's shadow Boston Marathon.

The Boston Athletic Association has provided Boston Marathon start and finish banners, bibs, T-shirts, medals and finisher certificates for participants in the shadow marathons.

With U.S. troops pulling out of Afghanistan by the end of this year, Friday's race will be the last Boston Marathon shadow run held at Bagram, the country's largest U.S. military base.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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